Cured ham with Pop's Brine, with Q-view!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by snorkelinggirl, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I tried my hand at curing a couple of small sections of fresh pork leg into ham using Pop's Brine recipe. My husband, both my biggest cooking fan as well as my biggest (most honest?) cooking critic, declared it to be excellent.

    Curing ham has been a struggle for me....I've had a couple of semi-successes, as well as a couple of outright fails. I think my time in the ham wilderness is finally over, though, thanks both to Pop's Brine recipe as well as realizing that curing ham is way easier if you debone it and use small leg sections. Thank you again, Pops, for a great recipe!

    I started out with a 5 lb fresh pork leg section, and boned it out. This left me with 2 boneless leg sections totaling about 4 lbs, with each being about 3" thick. I used 1/2 gallon of water, and followed Pop's recipe but fine-tuned it for 200 ppm of nitrite (max per USDA for immersion cured products) and a 2.4% salt content assuming an equilibrium cure. This worked out to 1/2 gallon of water, 1/4 cup of salt, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 12 grams of Cure #1.

    I cured the leg sections in the brine for 12 days in the refrigerator (I did not inject as the pieces were deboned and only around 2 lbs each), then rinsed them, patted dry, and let rest overnight in the refrigerator to form a pellicle. I cold smoked using maple dust in the AMNS for 2 1/2 hours (smoker temp stayed between 72 and 82 deg F). I only cold smoked for 2 1/2 hours because I operate under strict instructions by my husband to keep the smoke taste light. After smoking, I let the ham cool and then rest in the refrigerator for a couple of days to mellow out.

    This afternoon I baked them at 325 deg F in the oven until it reached an IT of 135 deg F, and let them rest before slicing. The IT reached a peak of 145 deg F while resting, so USDA should be happy. I applied some glaze when the IT reached 115 deg F.

    I didn't take any pictures of the curing or smoking because I didn't think to, but here are some pics of the rest of the process.

    Baking in the oven....

    Coming out of the oven....

    All sliced up! Cure penetrated all the way through...yay!

    Plated dinner shots, with some sliced tomato, steamed romanesco, and a bit of reduced drippings + glaze....

    Dessert! Couldn't resist throwing this in....homemade peach cobbler and some homemade vanilla ice cream. Yum!

    I am so so happy with the final saltiness level of this ham. Even the semi-successful hams I've made before have come out too salty, this was by far the best for a pleasant salt level. The brine didn't go ropy either, which is the other thing I was worried about. Boning out the leg roast makes it easier because you don't have to worry about injecting along the bone or bone sour, and smaller pieces keep the cure time relatively fast, so quicker feedback and less time for the brine to go ropy.

    Thank so much for checking out my post! I hope everybody has a great rest of your week and weekend!

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2013

  2. Looks like another great meal Clarissa  [​IMG]   Congrats on the successful cure!  [​IMG]   I have some Veronica growing right now myself that will be ready to eat soon  [​IMG]
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That Ham looks perfect. I am due to try one, feeling like a Christmas Ham and I too agree with using 1/2C Salt per Gallon. Nice job...JJ
  4. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Looks great clarissa.. I too need to step up my game and do a ham...
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great job Clarissa.....   You have finally got there on ham....  You're damn near perfect now...... 
  6. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I always buy Veronica or Romanesco whenever I can find is tasty and just so cool to look at. It is awesome that you are growing it yourself!

    Thank you so much for the compliments and checking out my post, Jeremy! Have a great day!
  7. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you, Chef JJ!

    I tried the 1/2 cup of salt per gallon water with the last batch of bacon I made, and my husband and I looked at each other and said "yep, that's it". It is such a relief to finally have that dialed in. Now I can start playing with fun stuff like smoke and flavorings!

    Have a great day!
  8. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think you'll have a lot of fun with it, Mike. It is easier with small leg sections, but you could follow Pop's Easter Ham thread and just jump right in to cure a whole ham! Some day I'll pull up my big girls pants and try that too. :biggrin:

    Have a great day!
  9. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Dave!

    See? I listened to and followed all of your advice from my last attempt at ham. I allowed 7 days per inch thickness for curing, and also allowed a few days for equilibrating. I can't thank you enough for all of your help and advice, Dave!

    Thanks so much for reading my post, and for the compliments!! Hope you have a great day!
  10. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice, Clarissa...that ham looks delicious!  Nicely done!

  11. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you so much for the compliments, Red!

    Thanks for stopping by and looking at my post! Have a great day!
  12. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congratulations on your success! Your ham looks perfect. I went through a learning curve with Pop's brine as well. What is really nice is how consistent is is from now on. Glad you didn't give up.

  13. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you so much, Todd!

    Failure is always painful, but I learned a lot from it! Your CB posts were really helpful, by the way.

    I appreciate you checking out my post, and hope you have a great day!
  14. That is some awesome looking ham and the rest of the meal is a winner too! Happy to see this one turned out so well for you! Pops brine is definitely a keeper once you have it dialed in to your taste preferences!
  15. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Oooooo....that is really pretty.  Looked like a great plate to eat too.

    Lynn loves yup....I am going to have to try this too.  There would have to be a lot more of it...cuz left over ham goes into my Red Beans and Rice.  

  16. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    That looks excellent!  I'm happy to hear from you and Chef Jimmy J that 1/2 c. per gallon of salt is sufficient.  My pork loin for CB I cut into thirds just came out of Pop's brine after 14 days to form a pellicle for 2 days.  I followed his recipe but cut the salt to 1/2 c. per gallon.  Is it possible to over cure by letting it set too long in Pop's brine (1 tbp. cure per gallon.)  My cure has no number one and is called Sure Cure Sodium Nitrite 6.25%, 4oz. cure to 100 lbs. meat.
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sure Cure is cure #1 because it has no nitrate in it...... You are set to go.....
  18. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the help.
  19. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Alesia,

    Thank you so much! I can't tell you how relieved I am on how this came out. There has been some major hand wringing going on for the past few weeks! But of course, now I'm just planning my next curing project!

    Take care and have a great day!

    Hi Kat,

    I know what you mean. I thought I had a ton of ham when I sliced it up last night. But after dinner, breakfast, setting aside some to take hiking this weekend, and making deviled ham, the ham is already all gone! I'm going to have to cure 2 leg sections next time!

    Red Beans and Rice.....yummy! The weather is starting to cool off and that sounds so good!

    Have a great day!

    Hi Dr K,

    Thank you very much for the compliments! I think you will be really pleased with the 1/2 cup of salt with your CB. DaveOmak already answered your question on cure, so sounds like you are in great shape for smoking your CB. Be sure to post some Q-view!

  20. ed sykes

    ed sykes Newbie

    Hey, try a deer ham, I have been curing and smoking them with persimmon wood for years. wonderful outcome............

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